Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today directed the Health and Family Welfare department to ensure strict implementation of the ban on the sale of tobacco-laced products such as ‘gutka’ and ‘paan masala’ in the state. Despite a notification issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Punjab, reports suggested that sale of flavoured, scented and chewing tobacco in the state continues to take place, according to an official spokesperson. H e said the chief minister took a serious note of the blatant violation of the ban notification. According to the spokesperson, the chief minister issued instructions to the department of Health and Family Welfare to act against violators.
The source of the manufacture and sale of the banned products should be identified and plugged without delay to prevent the problem from escalating, the chief minister said. A notification banning loose products of this kind, as well as loose tobacco and cigarettes and ‘hookah’ bars, in the state is issued every year by FDA Punjab. The latest notification to this effect was issued in February 2017 and remains in force till February 2018.
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The ban on loose tobacco and cigarettes relates to products without specified health warnings under Section 7 of COTPA (Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act), said the spokesperson, adding that the provisions of the Act apply to all tobacco-related products, whether packaged or unpackaged or sold as single unit or separate products.